Thursday, March 19, 2009
2009 MLS Season Begins
Today, most of the American sports media will be focused on the opening day of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, but in the Pacific Northwest, another media storm is brewing. Tonight, about 32,000 fans will pack Qwest Field to watch their expansion Seattle Sounders FC play their first-ever game as they take on the New York Red Bulls in the first game of the 2009 MLS season. It is definitely an exciting time for soccer in the Pacific Northwest, with the opening of the Sounders' season as well as the news yesterday that MLS will have an expansion team in Vancouver in 2011. With talk that Portland could become team #18 in MLS (with competition coming from St. Louis), tonight's game is the start of a bright future of soccer up there.
While this game should be plenty exciting, it's unfortunate that it will take place on the opening day of the NCAA Tourney, which is probably the most watched tournament in the world outside of the World Cup and the Euros. However, it will be interesting to see how Seattle plays in their first game. While Freddie Ljungberg, their heralded signing, is not expected to play tonight due to injury, Seattle has a decent looking side, anchored by Kasey Keller in net. Once Ljungberg enters the fold, they could possibly turn some heads with their play.
The MLS season should be a fantastic one, and I'm expecting it to be the best season yet. I will be keeping my eye on this game tonight along with all the basketball there is to offer over this weekend. Welcome to another year of Major League Soccer!